Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 21 June 2013

The dirty hand of Qatar in Sudan’s conflicts


By Anne Bartlett

June 20, 2013 - There is a certain intractability to Sudan’s conflicts these days, which defies logic or, it seems, any moral responsibility. The inability to move the international community off its course of pandering to Khartoum’s interests seems both irrational and unreasonable, given the significant upsurge in violence in Darfur and the critical situation now facing the population in Blue Nile and South Kordofan. Consider what would happen if any government elsewhere (let’s say North Korea, for example), had the temerity to actually cross borders, drop bombs on innocent people, blatantly shut off oil supplies and sponsor militias to purposefully create instability in a neighboring country. In such a case, the whole world would be up in arms, diplomatic secure phones would be buzzing with telephone traffic and condemnation would be both swift and decisive.

Yet, when it comes to South Sudan and the rights of marginalized people inside Sudan, anything goes. The Sudanese government can cause havoc, force people to work like slaves in gold mines in Darfur, starve local communities who are now corralled in camps, oversee non-existent health provision leading to the worst global outbreak of yellow fever in decades and terrorize people in the Jebel Marra to within an inch of their lives. A wanted war criminal, Ali Kushayb, can drive around as Commander of the Central Reserve Forces (known as Abu Tira) in South Darfur with no sanction at all. In South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the government can block humanitarian access, shell local populations and purposely locate itself close to civilian populations in towns like Kadugli so as to create maximum civilian casualties. Being even handed in its dispersal of war criminals, it can install Ahmed Haroun as the Governor of South Kordofan who is currently busy hosting football championships, while also overseeing the murder of innocent people.

The big question is why the silence? Why is the international community so compliant with the Sudanese government while all this unspeakable horror is going on? Why are they so full of what needs to happen elsewhere in the world, while apparently so blind to the rights of the people of Sudan? Why can Obama stand in Berlin talking about freedom and the horrors of the Stasi, while being unconcerned about the horrors of the NISS and indicted war criminals? Why are certain dictators worthy of US attention, while others aren’t?

The answer of course lies in the dirty hand of Qatar in world geopolitics. Across the world today Qatar is so busy in trading its cash for influence in world affairs, that it has been able to compromise the diplomatic credibility of the USA, UK, much of Europe and North Africa. It has been doing this quietly by using its relationships with the likes of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to shine its credentials of having some control over the Muslim Brotherhood and the ikhwan influence that is fast spreading across the Sahel. It has been doing so at the expense of its neighbors in the Gulf, notably the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and also at the expense of people suffering inside Sudan, who, it appears, have no rights at all.

Buying its way into the hearts of governments across the world, Qatar has set its sights high. In the United Kingdom, it has agreed to invest more than £10 billion in infrastructure projects that include energy plants, road and rail projects and even the new ‘super-sewer’ project under the capital, London. Elsewhere in London, Qatar has recently invested in Harrods, the Shard skyscraper and Heathrow Airport. Outside the capital, discussions are also underway to fund a new £14 billion nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset, planned and operated by EDF, the French energy giant.

Not wishing to lose out on Qatar’s largesse, France has also agreed to allow the Emirate to invest millions in its depressed ‘banlieues’ – the rings of poor suburbs with high immigrant populations that surround Paris. What was originally slated to be an exclusively Qatari project was however not taken up by Sarkozy due to the pressure of impending elections. It was however later adapted by François Hollande to include a joint plan between the French government, French private sector and the Qatari government, after accusations that the plan could amount to an ‘Islamic Trojan Horse’ being allowed deep into the heart of depressed Muslim areas. Undeterred the Qataris have continued to work on the issue, promoting a sixty five million dollar fund for young entrepreneurs from these areas. They have also bought football clubs, hotels, office buildings and public companies.

This pattern of influence trading and soft power usage spans much of Europe, including bailouts to the Greek government, interest in privatizing the defense giant Hellenic Defense Systems and buying six of its islands. In Germany the ‘Aamal Company, one of the Gulf region’s fastest growing diversified conglomerates, has signed an agreement with Vivantes International Medicine, the biggest hospital group in Germany, to create a joint venture (JV) outpatient medical centre in Doha’. In a spirit of reciprocity, Qatar is also investing in property and the leisure industry in Berlin.

In the USA, the Emir has developed strong relationships on account of the Defense Cooperation Agreement, which moved the U.S. Combat Air Operations Center for the Middle East from Prince Sultan Airbase in Saudi Arabia to Qatar’s Al Udeid airbase south of Doha, the Qatari capital. Udeid and other facilities in Qatar now serve as logistics, command, and basing hubs for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations, including Iraq and Afghanistan’. Education city, Doha, now hosts six top US universities: Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Cornell, Texas A&M and Virginia Commonwealth. US think tanks such as the Brookings Institution also call Doha home. Working closely with Qatar on the current crisis in Syria, the US is also developing strong diplomatic relationships with the Emirate as it moves forward.

Qatar’s spiderlike web of influence is growing at a rapid pace and spreading across the globe. The fact that Qatar has the ear, and has cultivated relations of dependence with many western governments, means that it has a lot of leverage in the case of Darfur, not only to keep pushing the Doha Peace Process as the only game in town, but also to ensure continued support for the Sudanese government and its operations. Elsewhere it can keep the pressure on the government of South Sudan and on the so called ‘rebel’ movements like the SRF operating on the border, while turning attention away from Sudan’s own sponsorship of militias inside South Sudan.

The question is how ill-informed and self-interested the world community can get. Are they so entranced by Qatar’s message that they have failed to notice the fact that the Emirate is speaking out of both sides of its mouth? Do they really think that once they’ve bought into Qatar’s influence over the Muslim Brotherhood, that it will end there? Are they too lazy to look a little further down the road to see what might be heading in their direction? Yes, it is easy to hit the soft targets like South Sudan and the already pulverized people of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Yes, it is easy to sell innocent people out in exchange for economic benefit and fat cat deals. However, getting too involved with such a government, as they will soon find out, can be rather unpredictable. As with so many situations where people get into bed with the devil, the international community had better pay attention to who they will wake up with in the morning.

Dr. Anne Bartlett is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Graduate Program in International Studies at the University of San Francisco. She may be reached at albartlett@usfca.edu

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  • 21 June 2013 06:49, by Sundayw

    Dr. Bartlett really brings up an interesting point that has escaped the hapless government of South Sudan. No wonder our own diplomatic effort tend to just falter before they take off. Sudan is now able to accuse South Sudan of supporting the rebels in Sudan when the reality is the opposite. We have ex-rebels recently welcomed back into South Sudan. These are not some ghosts.

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    • 21 June 2013 08:52, by Tutbol

      Dr. Bartlett has been a true & fearless advocate of the greater Sudanese peoples’ dignity ever since, now & forward. For she is a human with a dignity & a soul. And as she tersely put it; however, Dr. Bartlett; some S Sudanese who are aware of what is going between the gulf states & our so-called Western powers marriage & tried to voice this unusual alliance on this web site, were tracked>>>

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      • 21 June 2013 09:09, by Tutbol

        >>> to be silent, not by the Gulf states citizens; but guys from the countries so she mentioned. But we would not be silent by these intimidations; almost all of our peoples were born in war caused by forces they couldn’t fathhom were those dark forces hailed from, but we survived & we we still survive these sinister forces that are being re-inforced upon us by these monsterous higher societies>>>

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        • 21 June 2013 09:30, by Tutbol

          .Some countries in the West have reverted to their Europeans fascisms, greeds & plutocratisms ways; but we can’t blame understand them, because old habits die hard. Don’t get me wrong, ordinary citizens of some of these countries are not any different from us in S Sudan, they are just ordinary peoples who just want to go on with their lives. Only the who spineless pigs we elect to rule us>>>

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          • 21 June 2013 09:44, by Tutbol

            >>> and in turn, they are ruled by their fascist & corporat bosses. These monsters are playing with dangerous games, when feudalism, cronyism or plutocratism took over Europe eons ago; the citizens revolted & starting from the land of Europeans democracy; the France. However, flaw the Europeans democracy is, we were forced to take it as it is, no questions ask.

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            • 21 June 2013 10:05, by Tutbol

              In our Nilotic plains; we have democracies supperior to our masters democracy, so we now enjoy. In a nilotic plains cattle camp (wut), their is a head; *beny* of the cattle camp, they have steering our communities in our S Sudan community since any one can remember. As for the gulf states, they want to retrace their former Ottoman empire friend, Turkey.

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              • 21 June 2013 10:19, by Tutbol

                To honest Dr. Bartlett, Most of the mercenaries who were the Ottoman employ to subdue the greater Sudan’s were bunch of mercernaries friends from Europe. As you said, what are those world reputable colleges doing in Qatar & not in Haiti? Guess! The US that was believed by ordinary citizens, like my humbleself, has been taken by plutocrats & corporatists, that is very scarry...

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                • 22 June 2013 09:00, by Tutbol

                  Note folks
                  l am sorry for those grammatical mishaps in my posts. l was typing very fast and didn’t revise them, just guess the intended message i was intending to impart please.

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  • 21 June 2013 11:58, by Mohammed Ali 2

    These dirty hands of Qatar had offered millions to Darfur, either in the form of grants or loans.In SS Quatar had also offer millions parriculary after stopping oil production.What a " dirty hands"

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    • 21 June 2013 12:44, by Paul Ongee

      Dr. Anne Bartlett,
      Thank you for this fascinating article. The world has become so small that whatever is planned/done in the dark will still surface in broad day light. Every human being who has eyes to look must see, has ears to hear must understand and has brain to store data must analyze the possible outcome of what is planned/done in the dark.

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      • 21 June 2013 12:45, by Paul Ongee

        Let’s hope that all the marginalized people in Sudan will still be free one day. That day is almost at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it seems like dark days will never end but to Almighty God it’s just a day, perhaps a minute then the record of dark forces will be presented not only for public consumption but for a change in attitude for the sake of (global) freedom and peace.

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        • 21 June 2013 12:57, by Paul Ongee

          Your article is always similar to Dr. Eric Reeves’s which Khartoum hates reading because it reveals what is happening behind the closed door. Qatar can pour money in the name of Darfur as Khartoum continues begging for it and conducts futile military campaigns to disrupt the unification of various Darfur factions.

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        • 22 June 2013 08:41, by Mohammed Ali 2

          The marginalised pple are in SS,where the UN seeking half billion dollars to feed almost half of the starving population,while the SPLA thieves with their big bellies are criss crossing Juba with their 4-wheel air coditioned super vans to & fro their luxury air-coditioned newly built
          mansion.While more than 99% are starving in their thatched tukuls or straw built huts without water or sanitation!

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    • 23 June 2013 16:28, by zulu

      As dirty as lucipherous you, you will never acknowledge that Darfur today has never inched any better than South Sudan since it broke away from Sudan. today, despite the minced generousity meant to decieve the world, Darfur suffers the agony and brunt of all brutalities and human devastation. There is no pride for this act.

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  • 22 June 2013 17:35, by sudani ana

    Ann Bartlett Bitch
    The title of your article should have been: The white hand of Qatar in Sudan. Qatar has made great efforts to achieve peace in Sudan through hosting peaceful negotiations between the government and rebels. What did USA do? Nothing except arming rebels through Israel and South Sudan to prolong the war and suffering of Sudanese people hoping to break the country up.

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    • 22 June 2013 17:43, by sudani ana

      Or rather " The dirty hand of the USA in Sudan. Truly you and Eric Reeves are the two most hypocrite individuals to ever meddle in the affairs of Sudan. But I tell you this; your grand plan of breaking Sudan up will not work, you are wasting your time.

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  • 24 June 2013 02:38, by Mohamed

    Ann Bartlett, Eric Reeves, John Prendergradt, Susan Rice and George Clooney........
    Same shit.....different day!
    Keep up your biased look into our country and you will get another PHD.
    Tell the truth and you are nobodies as you truly are.
    Keep up the lies....It’s easier.....

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    • 24 June 2013 02:44, by Mohamed

      "Force people to work like slaves in gold mines in Darfur...."
      Where does she get her information from?
      There are over 500,000 people who are searching for gold freely throughout Sudan. Just like there were in the US gold rush in the 1800’s.
      Was the US govt also forcing people to work like slaves in gold mines in California?
      Bartlett is full of lies. Sociology? What does that have to do....

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      • 24 June 2013 02:48, by Mohamed

        ...with Qatar or Sudan or London or France?
        Please Ann stick to your subject of studying cultures and stop trying to be famous from a made up fabrication about our country.
        Many ignorant people might get misinformed by your "out sight’s".

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      • 24 June 2013 06:00, by Sundayw

        Wait a minute...Back in 1800s California gold rush, there was no one arming Arab tribes against other tribes to pay them with gold for having committed genocide against Afro-Darfurians. Your supposed understanding of events in Sudan and America need a do over. America of 1800s was about freedom and pursuit of happiness. Sudan of 2010s is about murder, rape, and pillage against marginalized groups.

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        • 24 June 2013 19:05, by Mohamed

          I am against rape and murder of the Darfurians in Sudan today or of the American Indians of the 1800’s. I doubt that America was such a rosy picture. Even today the America Indians are deprived of what is legally there’s.
          But this is not our subject. If you want to talk about Darfur, it is not the government that is killing and raping. It is intertribal fighting over limited resources.....

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      • 24 June 2013 06:02, by Sundayw

        Mohamed, you clearly lack moral compass in this debate. You are probably one of those Sudanese educated in America like Nafie Ali Nafie but goes back and torture his own people even after being immersed in culture of freedom and human dignity. It is very hard for someone who has lived American culture to go back and torture people. Unfortunately, NCP criminal gangs have found a loop hole.

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        • 24 June 2013 18:57, by Mohamed

          I am not going to guess who you are or care much for putting a picture about what education you got or who you resemble.
          I stick to commenting on this article.
          Simply stating that people who are looking for gold in Sudan do not work for government as the article states!

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  • 25 June 2013 12:49, by 4Justice

    Tiny Qatar is a den of Satanic Freemasons

    According to the Old Constitutions granted by His Royal Highness Prince Edwin at York A.D. 926
    The owner of Al-Jazeera Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani is a freemason. Jesuit Papacy rules Sunni Qatar!

    Golden Hawk Lodge No 1 Doha


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